I can’t focus. Blink. And again. I can hear distant sounds. Someone is there. I try again to focus. I can’t move. What is going on? Distant sounds now sound closer. Then I feel a hand on my shoulder.

History repeating itself? I had been through this experience ten years earlier. Equally traumatic. This time was different though. Now I was married with a two year old daughter and another on the way.

“Nigel? Nigel? Can you hear me?

Soft. Calm. Reassuring.

“It’s over. All done. Everything is fine,” she says.

But who is she? It doesn’t sound like Jo.

Then I remember. “Oh!” I gasp in relief.

I was coming round after my second major eye operation in ten years. Both procedures had saved my eyesight, first in the right eye with pioneering surgery by a man who is regarded as a legend in the world of eye surgery, and then in the left. The second one was more straightforward, but still took 3 hours.

Now, thirteen years on, here I am starting my own photographic business. Humanly speaking, this shouldn’t be, but by the grace of God and the incredible skill of dedicated medical staff I can still see, am fully sighted, and able to scrutinize the finest detail in my photographs. The macro image here is of a tiny water droplet nestled in the petal of a lily, imitating in some measure what the lens in our eyes is capable of doing.

The story behind the reasons for these ops will do for another time, but for now I’m just grateful for the gift of sight.

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